Religion is always a changing issue with me. I have days, weeks, or just moments where it really matters to me and I go back to the religion I grew up with, Christianity. And then, for some reason, the phase passes and I don’t take anything more to do with it.
Usually when I’m scared, longing for something/someone, sad, trying to comprehend things, I look to God for answers. I think more for the comfort of thinking there’s someone there that knows my greater plan in life and that this moment will pass and I will get through it. I guess it gives me strength thinking that.
But then in my normal day to day life, there’s not much I do to acknowledge God’s presence in my daily life, and it’s not often i participate in religious events. I grew up going to the Christian Community, where I would attend a childrens service, partake in religious festivals and be a part of that community. At night my mother would say the same evening prayer, which I ought to remember the amount of times she said it to me!
Something like, “from my head to my feet, I am the image of god … ” the rest could perhaps come back with a bit of thinking on that one.
When i turned 14 and it was time to take my communion I opted not to, a decision made purely by me and supported by my parents, there was no pressure to conform to their ideals, or indeed the churches.
From then on, the only times I have found myself in churches is at weddings, christmas, a few communions, never funerals – i can’t deal with death, I would surely cry my eyes out if i didn’t even know the person.
At high school i remember going to a local church a few times just to get a bit of peace to think, and saying a few prayers, never knowing to whom i was praying, just doing it nonetheless. And when i moved to London in 2008, the first time I was really far away from my family, I would on occasion visit one particular church. I also visited St. Paul’s besides this one, but it’s too much of a tourist attraction to get the sense of peace I seek in a church.
St. Martin in the fields in London’s Trafalgar Square is perhaps one of the most famous churches in the land, most likely attributed to their world renowned choir. It was for this sole reason I started going. Every Sunday, they would have an evensong service. I discovered this completely by chance, I happened to be walking past after one of my many viewings at the National Portrait Gallery, when I saw a poster outside the church advertising said service. So I thought why not …
It was the first time in a long time i’d been to a service, and the raw emotion I felt when the priest asked us all to think about the loved one’s in our lives and the people we miss was overpowering. I found myself thinking, why have I been so far away from all this and distancing myself from it?
In this fast paced modern world we live in, and particularly living in London, it’s so easy to find yourself doing so many pointless fake things. All the fancy shops, clubs, restaurants and bar’s i would love to blow my cash in seemed obsolete and of no matter at all to me anymore. The things that so many londoners find themselves emerged in, and not finding the time to step back and look at what they are doing. not spending enough time with the loved ones and special people in their lives. Perhaps that’s a bit strong to say that, but I think it will probably ring true with a lot of people who have experienced living in london, finding yourself drawn into the 24/7 rat race and not taking the time for yourself and the people in your life to have some real quality time together and let them know they really matter.
Anyway, this church as i mentioned have an incredible choir, and it was for this i kept coming back every few weeks when I could just to listen to their incredible singing. I guess partly to for the solace the service gave me, a respite to my chaotic life in London.
Music touches me in a way that no other thing can. There’s this part inside me that is really emotionally moved when music, usually classical or choral is done well. another thing I am really grateful to have, a full orchestra and choir playing for our latest ballet, my first time with the full works, that’s really going to be quite something.
So all this has got me thinking about religion quite a lot of late. I certainly value the principals, beliefs and morals of Christianity, I just don’t know if i’m at a place in my life that I will be able to give myself as much to it as I would want to.
Saying that, how much do you have to give? is just acknowledging it enough? perhaps it is, perhaps these past few years, when all the difficult things that have been going on in my life have been going on and i’ve looked to god, to something ‘up there’, that’s been me using the faith that has always been there.
maybe it didn’t really stop at 14 when I said no, maybe it was always there. perhaps it always will be.